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Sports Shorts: Saina in semis; Sindhu out of Australian Super Series

Last updated on: June 27, 2014 17:08 IST

Sports Shorts: Saina makes semis; Sindhu out of Australian Super Series



Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal reached the women's singles semi-finals with a comfortable straight-game win, but compatriot P V Sindhu failed to cross the quarter-final hurdle in the $750,000 Star Australian Super Series, in Sydney on Friday.

While Sindhu, seeded eighth, lost 17-21, 17-21 against Carolina Marin of Spain, sixth seeded Saina got the better of Eriko Hirose of Japan 21-18, 21-9 in 47 minutes to set up a clash against world no. 2 Chinese shuttler Shixian Wang in the last four stage of the tournament.

Saina enjoys a 4-3 record against two-time All England champion Wang but the last couple of times they met, the Chinese had won on both the occasions.

The London Olympics bronze-medallist got off to a fine start against her Japanese opponent, opening up a 4-0 lead and quickly widening the gap by going up 8-2.

But Hirose fought her way back to make it 10-10.

Although Saina always held an upper hand and maintained a slender lead, Hirose once again came from behind to make it 18-18.

But World No. 8 Saina held her nerves and was quick to take the next three points to wrap the opening game.

A dominant display in the second game by Saina left the Japanese girl gasping for breath. And the only time Hirose even came close to the shuttler from Hyderabad was at 2-3.

"Won a tough quarter final against Hirose. I play Wang Shixian in the semi final tomorrow. Keep supporting me friends," Saina wrote on her Twitter handle after winning the quarter-final.

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Image: Saina Nehwal
Photographs: Getty Images


Sindhu lost in 47 minutes

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World no. 10, Sindhu, fought her heart out for 47 minutes but could not overcome the challenge posed by the 11th ranked Spaniard.

The opening game was a closely fought affair with the two shuttlers exchanging leads time and again. The game kept oscillating from one end to another till it was tied at 17-17.

At this stage, Carolina broke off and reeled four consecutive points to seal the first game 21-17 in her favour.

Sindhu tried hard to make a comeback in the second game, and put up a good fight. But it lasted only a while when both were tied 7-7.

The Spaniard bagged a couple of points to surge ahead and then capitalised on the advantage to maintain a slight edge.

At 20-15, when Carolina was serving for the match, Sindhu managed to save two match points, but eventually went down to crash out of the competition. 

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Image: PV Sindhu of India
Photographs: Victor Fraile/Getty Images

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McIlroy's new girl may join reality show

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Golfer Rory McIlroy's new girl Nadia Forde is in negotiations to be on 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'.

The 24-year-old Irish beauty, who's been dubbed as Ireland's sweetheart, has been the 25-year-old star golfer's shoulder-to-cry on post his split with his tennis star fiance, Caroline Wozniacki, the Daily Star reported.

According to an insider, Forde, who was 94th in FHM magazine's '100 sexiest Women In The World', was considered to be apt for the show, since she could spill the beans about McIlroy, and would also be an eye candy in the jungle shower with her amazing bikini body.

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Image: Nadia Forde
Photographs: Courtesy: Nadia Forde/Instagram

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'Bad boy' McEnroe feels it is time for 'shake up' in tennis

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American tennis legend John McEnroe feels that it is time for a shake up to come in the sport.

McEnroe said that one cannot just stand on ones heels and do nothing, adding that they have got to keep trying to do things to grab more fans.

McEnroe has devised a manifesto to make tennis, a sport dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, 'edgier' as it is getting dull.

McEnroe's has sketched five-point to make tennis more exciting and the plan includes 'no umpires or linespeople', saying that one would have a system where the players would call their own lines which would make things a whole lot edgier all of a sudden as one could challenge it.

McEnroe also feels that there should be 'no warm ups' and said that it would make it interesting as people would ponder over who is the best starter and one could build it up like boxing then.

The American legend also wants that there should be a 'no towels' rule in tennis.

McEnroe also feels that there should be 'no 25-second rule for slow servers' as one should go with the flow of the match, saying that sometimes it is almost better.

McEnroe's final rule is that there should be 'no high fives' and said that high-giving doubles players when they miss returns should also be against the rules. 

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Image: John McEnroe
Photographs: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

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'Bad boy' McEnroe feels it is time for 'shake up' in tennis

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Six time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has made himself available for the Jamaican relay teams at next month's Commonwealth Games, providing organisers with a potential boost for the multi-sport event's profile.

Bolt has not competed at all this season due to injury and has asked for a medical exemption from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to miss this weekend's national trials and be considered for the relay teams only in Glasgow.

"Yes, I can confirm we submitted a medical exemption to the JAAA and Usain will be making himself available for the relays in Scotland," Nugent Walker Jr. told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. "Usain doesn't wish to take the spot of anyone who qualifies for the 100m and 200m at this weekend's trials."

The JAAA confirmed they had received the request and would consider it, but not until after the June 26-29 trials.

JAAA rules allow them to consider athletes who have applied for medical exemption from the trials to be included in national teams providing they are able to prove their form ahead of the competition.

Earlier this month, Bolt withdrew from meetings in the Czech Republic and at Paris on July 5 because he felt his conditioning was not at his required standard.

Should he be selected his presence at the July 23- Aug.5 Games in Scotland will provide a massive boost to the athletics programme, which has in the past been bypassed by the biggest names in the sport as they prefer to focus on the lucrative European circuit.

Fellow sprinter Asafa Powell, who is allowed to compete pending an appeal of his 18-month ban for a doping violation, has withdrawn from the Jamaican trials with a stomach bug, his publicist said.

Powell was given the go ahead by the Court of Arbitration for Sports to compete pending the outcome of his appeal hearing from July 7-8 and had planned to take part in the Paris Diamond League meeting on July 5.

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Image: Usain Bolt

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IOC urges 'sustainable' Tokyo Games, lauds venue review

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International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates has urged Tokyo to ensure plans for the 2020 Summer Games avoid wasteful construction and welcomed talk of reviewing or possibly scaling back venues.

Japanese officials, led by Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe, said earlier this month that rising labour and construction costs were forcing the Japanese capital to rethink its plans for 10 venues it intended to build for the games.

Tokyo won the right to host the games last year, beating out Madrid and Istanbul with its financial strength and pledges to hold a "compact" Olympics, but some of the proposed changes include using existing venues outside central Tokyo instead of building new ones downtown.

"We want to see venues that are sustainable, and sustainable legacies," Coates told a news conference on Friday at the end of a three-day visit by the IOC's Coordination Commission, the first since Tokyo won hosting rights last September.

"We want to see more existing venues, we want to see the use of more temporary grandstands... It may be that there are new venues and existing venues at the moment that are dedicated for just one sport, where with good programming you could do two."

Tokyo's bid emphasised a war chest of some $4.5 billion and pledged to keep most competition sites within 8 km of the Olympic Village in downtown Tokyo.

But skyrocketing construction and labour costs, partly as a result of the 2011 disaster that devastated a wide swathe of Japan's northeastern coast and partly due to a hike in consumption tax, prompted officials to call for the review.

In one case, the kayak/canoe sprint venue, new estimates came in 15 times higher than original plans, which had not taken into account costs for building a dam and moving part of a waste disposal facility currently on the site, Japanese media said.

One proposed change would be to opt out of building new facilities for basketball and badminton and use existing ones instead. One feted venue, the Saitama Super Arena, is roughly 25 km from downtown Tokyo.

Coates said talks this week did not touch on specific venues except for the kayak/canoe slalom course, which has run into opposition from environmentalists because building it could damage a bird sanctuary, but said the IOC was happy with Tokyo's preparations and the plans for a review.

"This is something that we're particularly pleased about, because in the evaluation commission report we identified that there would be an opportunity to further improve on the plans that were presented then," he said, adding that he hoped changes could be made as soon as possible.

Discussions were not held about the new National Stadium, whose design by London-based architect Zaha Hadid, responsible for the aquatics centre for the 2012 London Olympics, has already been scaled back due to cost concerns.

An initial round of bids to demolish the current National Stadium, built in 1964 for the first Tokyo Olympics, fell through due to the high cost of the proposals made.

Preparations were being made for a new round of bids but the timetable had yet to be decided, said an official at the Japan Sport Council, which runs the arena. Demolition will take roughly 14 months.

"The work is likely to be delayed by only a month or so," she added. 

Image: John Coates
Photographs: Matt King/Getty Images

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